Tag Archive | prayer

Through the valley

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

It has been a challenging last 4 days. I got a call Friday night that my grandpa had been in a really bad accident. So, the kids and I set out Sunday on a 12 hour tour up to visit him in the hospital. Now, we are on our 12 hour leg back home. I am so grateful that God prepared my path and provided a way for me to go and visit him. He prepared my car. He prepared my son to help drive some. He took care of it all.

But for the second time in his 87 years, my grandpa is walking through the valley. And it is hard to watch him go through it, again. I feel so helpless and confused when I walk into his room and see all the machines and hear all the noises. Suddenly, all the training and knowledge that I have received about medical conditions and prognosis and treatment become a distant memory that I have to work really hard to retrieve. 

It is a challenge to be positive. The devil is right there on my shoulder whispering in my ear all the negative thoughts he can muster up. He wants me to think about the very worst. He wants me to dwell on all the things I see wrong. He fights me when I try and remember that God is in control.

Yet, I know Jesus is in control of it all. 

Let me tell you about the day before I got the call – my tire pressure light came on. For land’s sake, I just got new tires within the last 3 months! So, my husband and I decided to go get it checked out and get the oil changed while we were at it. It was that time. This was Friday afternoon. I got the call Friday night. God knew on Thursday that grandpa would get hurt Friday afternoon and that I would get the call Friday night. He knew that I would want to go visit him and he knew that my husband needed the knowledge that the car was safe to carry his precious cargo 800 miles away without him. 

God knew. God prepared the way. 

So as my family and I walk through the valley, we covet your prayers. Pray for my grandma. She needs it. Pray for my aunt and my mom. They need it. 

But the great thing is that no matter what God chooses to do in this situation, the table before us will be prepared by Him. He will provide everything we need. He will be our rod. He will be our strength. He will anoint our thoughts with His grace and mercy. He will make our cup run over with His blessings. Of this, I have no doubt.

On my heart

James 5:16 – “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

This verse has been on my heart and in my mind the last couple of days. 

As with any sermon, there are many lessons that speak different things to different people. And although this specific verse may or may not have been used, God brought it to my mind when I was at church in Sunday. 

We NEED to pray for one another. 

I began studying different portions of my Bible at the beginning of the year. After my Bible study, I began an “On my heart” section of each page. I have found that it keeps growing and growing. As I open my heart to those God lays upon it, my list gets longer and longer. I find myself praying for different people randomly throughout the day. God brings them to my heart and I say a word of prayer for them. 

Now, does that make me righteous and holy? Absolutely not. It does show me that I am being available. That’s what God wants. He wants availability and teachability. He wants me to listen closer to Him in all areas of my life – prayer, decisions, actions and words, just to name a few. 

I want to encourage you to start an “On my heart” list. God wants your availability. The best way to get started is by listening. And once you hear, act. That’s part of being available- the willingness to act. Pray for one another. Let’s see what God is going to do today. 

One of THOSE days

Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

I think there are days when this is the hardest command in the Bible. I know there are days when I don’t feel like being kind or forgiving or tenderhearted. I just want to wear my feelings right out there on my shirt sleeve like a badge of honor for anyone and everyone to pick at. And that’s not good. It makes me more suseptible to hurt feelings, hostility and grudges. It makes me irritable and weary. I just don’t want to do anything when I get like that. I throw this giant pity party and plan my escape to my little hole in the ground. It’s not very princess-like. 

My solution? Usually complaining and that just opens up a whole new can of worms. Fussing and whining have never gotten me anywhere in life. It may work for some people but for me, it just makes me feel worse. The devil likes for me to believe that vocalizing my woes will make me feel better. Generally speaking, no. No, it does not. 

So how am I supposed to handle these days? Prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. I need to remember that if I’m going to vocalize my woes, I need to do it solely to Jesus. I need to cancel the pity party and decide to let the Lord handle things. Yes, I need to choose to be kind. Yes, I need to choose to be tenderhearted. And yes, I definitely need to forgive. But, I need to do all these things because Jesus did this for me. And He continues to do this each and every time I ask. 

So when the going gets tough today and you feel like your kindness gene is shot and your heart is stone and forgiveness is far from you, remember that you have been shown kindness beyond measure by One whose heart is the most tender and Who forgives every single time you ask. It’s hard, but you can do it. 

ASAP

  
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

I was in the store the other day and saw this cute little plaque. 

We usually think of ASAP meaning “as soon as possible”.  But when I saw this rendition of it, I thought it much more fitting. 

Too often we are caught up in the “as soon as possible” meaning. We are so focused on what needs to be done and how quickly can we get it done that we forget the other side of the coin. We have deadlines to meet and appointments to keep and lists that need to be accomplished. And those things are all well and good, in their own time. 

But how much different would our day be if we “always stop and pray”? How often do we hush the Holy Spirit when we hear that “still, small Voice” speaking to our heart? I know there have been times in my life when I have heard that Voice speaking to my heart to warn me not to do something and I do it any way and then I am faced with the guilt of sin and the rememberance that I had been warned. And then there are times when He speaks to my heart and reminds me of someone that needs my prayers right now. And I stop and pray for them and He won’t let it go. The feeling of the need for prayer stays with me. So I keep praying. And then not too long afterwards, I get a text from that very person telling me the outcome of my prayers. I love that. I love that God is so involved in our lives and that He intertwines them with just the right people. I love that He brings us through trials with the prayers of others. But how much different would those trials be if we hushed the Holy Spirit and neglected to “always stop and pray”?

So today, when you hear that Voice speaking to your heart, don’t hush Him up. Listen. There may be someone standing in the need of prayer and you need to “always stop and pray”. ASAP is more than an acronym for time. It is an acronym for life – a life of prayer that draws us closer to God and closer to one another. 

Hannah

1 Samuel 1:9-18 – “So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

Yes, I know, a lot of verses this morning. But let me tell you why. I couldn’t snatch and grab verses out of this section. 

I have been listening to the Bible through a Bible app every morning on the way to work. I double up on Friday and Monday. And the last couple of days, I have been going through a couple of my favorite Old Testament books – Ruth and 1 Samuel. As I was listening to the story of Hannah, my heart was moved. 

This poor woman was married. Her husband had another wife besides her. (Not sure that I could handle something like that.)   His other wife bore him several children, but he loved Hannah more than he loved his other wife. Hannah desperately wanted a child, especially a male child. So as the time had come to go up for the yearly sacrifices, Hannah went in to pray. She was laying her heart out to God when the priest saw her praying. Hannah was praying in her heart. She was having a one on one with the Almighty and He was listening. She was laying her burdens out before Him. And she left them there. How do I know that? “…her countenance was no more sad.” 

Burdens are a terribly heavy thing. They weigh you down. They destroy your good mood. They cause wrinkles! Ain’t nobody got time for that! But we have the God who cares about all our deepest concerns, all our deepest woes, all our deepest fears. He wants us to take the time and have a one on one with the Almighty, just like Hannah did. Pour your heart out to Him. Do it while you are driving. Do it while you are showering. Do it over a cup of coffee on the back porch. It doesn’t matter when or where or how you do it, just do it! 

And when you are all done, your spirits will be lifted, if you truly left them with Him. If not, maybe you should rethink some things. We were not made to carry around the weight of the world. We were made to trust the Creator of the world. 

Being Epaphras

Colossians 4:12 – “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

Yesterday in morning services, our pastor did something usual during invitation. He asked that if anyone had been diligently praying for someone, to step out and let them know. You see, he was preaching a message about  really being a praying church, and he felt the Lord leading him to do this exercise. It really touched my heart, in more ways than one. For one thing, I was moved by the number of people who participated and to whom they went to. And I was also convicted. I realized just how selfish my prayers can be. We have lots of people in our church that are hurting. And I know several people who are unsaved that I need to diligently pray for. Yet, I find myself selfishly praying time and time again. 

So, today, I want to take a look at Epaphras. Paul mentions this fellow in the book to the church at Colosse. We know Epaphras was from Colosse because Paul calls him “one of you”. So he belonged to this church. And even though he was not with his home church, he was laboring for them – in prayer. This man was a prayer warrior, so to speak. He was diligently praying for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that were back home in Colosse. Back then they didn’t have cell phones and Internet to keep up on the latest that each person was going through. Yet, even though Epaphras had no clue who was sick or injured or having a bad time at work, he prayed. He prayed that they would stand in the will of God. 

I don’t need to know every detail about every situation in order to pray for someone. I just need to know that they need it. And whether they tell me they need it or not, they do. We all need prayer. 

I want to encourage you, Princess, to ask God to burden your heart for someone today. There is someone that you may know really well or not all who needs your prayers. You may or may not know all the details of what they are facing, but you can pray that they stand firm in the will of God. You see, we desperately need to draw closer to Him. And when we draw closer to Him, we draw closer to one another. We need to fervently pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we need to fervently pray for the lost. We need to have a real burden for them. I need to have a real burden for them. Prayer is powerful, sister. Don’t ever forget that. 

The Invitation

Luke 24:28-29 – “And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

We had a missionary come and speak last night. It was amazing. I love it when you have read a passage before but then you read it again and God just reveals something that knocks your socks off. That’s what happened last night. 

In these verses, you have the two men walking away form Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walk, they discuss the events that have just gone on in the last week. It had been a horrible week – Jesus had died. And as they walked, Jesus came up alongside them and began talking with them, but they didn’t know who He was. As Jesus expounded upon Scripture, they arrived at their destination. Jesus was going to go on, but they implored Him to stay with them a while. 

Here is the lesson and the speaker explained this very clearly – You have to invite Jesus in every day. Every single day. He won’t come where He is not invited. You have to ask Him to come be a part of your day. Now you may be thinking, “He is always with me. Why should I have to ask Him to be a part of it?” Have you ever had someone over to your house and you began cooking dinner and for a bit of time you don’t ask the visitor to join you but when you do their face lights up and they are eager to help and add to the dinner? That’s the way it is with Jesus. If you don’t want Him to help, He stays out of the way and observes until you ask Him to step in and take over. I don’t know about you, but more often than not, I flail around through life screaming and pounding my fists before I ask for His help. I think I can handle it on my own. Usually, all I’m doing is making a bigger mess for Him to clean up. 

Now the other piece to this lesson was this – The faith you had yesterday wil not get you through today. Faith is something that has to be refilled every morning. It’s like your gas tank. Some of us try to run on an empty tank. We don’t refill in the morning. We think that we got this. I read my Bible yesterday. I went to church yesterday. I should be good to go for a couple of days. Wrong! You see, it has to be a daily renewal. Every day is a new opportunity, a new possibility. But without a fresh tank of faith, you are running on fumes or flat out stuck where you are. You don’t make progress toward anything. 

So today, Princess, remember this – Ask Him into your life today and get filled up before you hit the door. Take some time and share your heart with the One who loves you unconditionally. Read from His book and/or listen to  it on an audio track, either way, let His words seep into who you are. Let them stick to your heart. Think about them throughout the day. Remember, you invited Him in, let Him help.